A local nonprofit group is applying for a huge grant that could help it revive the dormant Ioka theater.
The Exeter Theater Company is trying to buy the Ioka from local philanthropist Alan Lewis for $600,000 and revive it as a community theater for movies, plays, concerts, and other performances.
Lewis bought the Ioka at an auction in 2011 and had planned to lease it to theater company, but he recently changed his mind and now wants to sell it to the group. The Ioka was built in 1915 and for decades screened films, among other performances. It has been dormant for the last several years.
As of mid-December, the theater company had raised about $140,000 from local donors, among other sources. It's seeking to raise the rest of the money through more donations and grants.
The theater company is applying for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts worth anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000. Winners are announced in July.
Exeter officials this week signed a letter of support that will be included in the grant application. They said a revived Ioka could become the "jewel" of Exeter.
The letter can be found at right in the "Photos" section.